Here's a copy of the Triangle Free-Net brochure, in case that helps any... Judy Hallman, Triangle Free-Net, NC ----------------- Launching the Triangle Free-Net What is a Free-Net? A Free-Net is a free computer service that promises to be as indispensable as your television and telephone. Like your TV, this exciting new service delivers information, and like your telephone, it provides person-to-person to communication. The Free-Net can give you access to libraries, government services and documents (such as city council minutes or tax records) , business and consumer information, medical and legal information-- it can even help with fixing your car or landscaping your yard. With the Free-Net, you don't have to leave work or home to get information; it's available 24 hours a day, at your convenience. You can also exchange messages with friends around the state, the nation, or the world right from your home, 24 hours a day, using electronic mail (E-mail). The Free-Net allows you to get involved with your community, chat with friends about hobbies, swap recipes--just about anything you can imagine. The Free-Net offers your children a way to talk with children across town or across the world, work on educational projects, and even play a game or two. Not only can they learn to use a computer effectively, they can also learn about different places in the world, trading information with classes from Maine to Australia using the Free-Net. They also can send e-mail to experts who might help them answer those tough questions kids often have. The Free- Net opens a door to immense educational opportunities for the whole family. How does this work? To access a Free-Net, you need a computer and a modem hooked to your telephone, or similar computer-to-computer communications. (Computers with direct connections to the Internet have direct access to most Free-Nets.) You dial a local telephone number that connects you to the Free-Net computer, and then follow the simple instructions and "menus" that take you to the information you seek. So to send a message to a friend, for instance, you'd simply go to the e-mail area, write your message, and "mail" it. It's really that simple! Is the Free-Net just another bulletin board? Free-Nets are similar to ordinary electronic bulletin boards in that both require a computer with modem, and both are accessed with a telephone line. Both provide information and allow a user to interact with other participants. But a Free-Net typically covers a wider spectrum of community information than the hobbyist or commercial BBS, and it puts you and your family in direct communication with the community's officials and leaders. Most Free-Nets also provide access to the worldwide computer network called the Internet. But what if I don't have a computer? Computers are becoming common in schools and libraries. As Free- Nets grow more useful and popular, public computers will be made available in additional areas, like senior citizen centers, local government buildings, hotels, and restaurants. This might sound like an exclusive club, but more and more people are growing comfortable with computer operation. Computer literacy today is comparable to reading literacy a century ago. Where are the present Free-Nets? Cleveland, Ohio, was the first area to establish a Free-Net, back in 1986. Free-Nets are now operating in Tallahassee (FL), Peoria (IL), Denver (CO), and Columbia (MO), to name a few. Around the world, there are Free-Nets in Victoria, BC; Wellington, NZ; and Bayreuth, Germany. What's all this really going to cost? Free-Nets estimate their costs for equipment, telephone lines, materials, and staff at around $150,000 per year. Most Free-Nets are financed in much the same way as public radio and public TV: by donations from private foundations, corporations, small businesses, and state or local governments. Individual private donors are an integral part of Free-Net support. The basic goal of a Free-Net is to be free--that is, not to charge people for access to public information. How do I try out the Triangle Free-Net? Well, it isn't quite ready for you to use yet. Triangle Free-Net, run by a nonprofit corporation, has volunteers working to make the Free-Net a reality. The volunteers have set up a development system and are currently designing the menus and gathering data for a Free-Net that will link the Research Triangle area--Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill--through a Research Triangle Park telephone exchange. How can I help? Your financial contribution at this time will help pay for telephone lines and equipment needed to launch the Triangle Free-Net. Please complete the attached form and mail in your tax-deductible contribution today. Triangle Free-Net needs people who are willing to provide their time and expertise; computer expertise is not required. Most of the muscle of the Free-Net is supplied by volunteers, people like you, who feel a sense of pride in sharing with the community. More volunteers are needed to provide information and plan the system. Information providers identify information that would be valuable to users of the Free-Net; they gather the basic information for the system, and they keep it up to date. These contributors also monitor sections of the electronic discussion groups, and some answer "ask-an-expert" questions, posting their answers in the system. Workers and expertise are needed in the following areas: -- User interface design. -- Identification of data to include on the system. -- Business and financial planning. -- Hardware, software, networking support. -- Publicity and training. In this early stage of development of the Triangle Free-Net, most of the communication is done by electronic mail. If you would like to participate, please send an electronic mail message to [log in to unmask] She will send you information about the triangle.freenet Usenet Network News discussion group and how to subscribe to the Free-Net listservers. YES, I support the Triangle Free-Net! Enclosed is my tax-deductible contribution. Member $35 ___ Student $15 ___ Patron $100 ___ Other ___ Founder $500 ___ Name________________________________________________ Address________________________________________________ City _________________________ State_________ Zip__________ Phone (days) ___________________ E-mail________________________ (nights)_______________ I would like to receive notices by US Mail ___ My employer is _________________________ (for matching funds) Make checks payable to Triangle Free-Net P.O. Box 13395, Research Triangle Park, 27709.